Incorporating level set methods in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for land-surface process modeling
- Geography Planning and Architecture, The University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD 4072, Australia
Abstract. Land-surface processes include a broad class of models that operate at a landscape scale. Current modelling approaches tend to be specialised towards one type of process, yet it is the interaction of processes that is increasing seen as important to obtain a more integrated approach to land management. This paper presents a technique and a tool that may be applied generically to landscape processes. The technique tracks moving interfaces across landscapes for processes such as water flow, biochemical diffusion, and plant dispersal. Its theoretical development applies a Lagrangian approach to motion over a Eulerian grid space by tracking quantities across a landscape as an evolving front. An algorithm for this technique, called level set method, is implemented in a geographical information system (GIS). It fits with a field data model in GIS and is implemented as operators in map algebra. The paper describes an implementation of the level set methods in a map algebra programming language, called MapScript, and gives example program scripts for applications in ecology and hydrology.